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Question of the Day: Illegal Racquets

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 /by

TENNIS.com gear editor Justin diFeliciantonio and his technical advisers answer your equipment questions each day. Click here to send in a question of your own.

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I was reading your piece about illegal racquets. I’m curious how this applies to tournament match play. For example, say we played a sanctioned league match, you won, but I found out afterwards that you’d used an outlawed racquet—like the liquid-filled Dynaspot—would you have to forfeit?—Jeremy B.

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Although it’d be in bad taste, Jeremy, given you discovered the illegality after our hypothetical match concluded, I wouldn’t be required to forfeit the win. See Comment 4.1, in the USTA’s rulebook, Friend at Court. As it reads:

What happens if it is discovered after play has begun that a player has been using an illegal racket or an illegally strung racket? All points played stand. The player must find another racket before continuing play. A player is subject to code violations for delay under the Point Penalty System. If the discovery occurs after the match is over, the match still counts.

This is in keeping with one of the central tenets of tennis, namely that all points played in good faith stand. Technically speaking, it’s illegal to dole out penalties to a player who used illegal equipment post hoc.

Note, however, that the above shouldn’t be read as encouraging the use of illegal racquets. It wouldn’t be in good taste, or good faith!

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